Hartley, Maxwell, & Castellano Attorneys at Law
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Let Us Help You. Call Today. 805-232-5808

Prayer in Our Courts

On Tuesday, July 7, 2015, we began a family law trial with an estimate of 14 court days (close to three actual weeks) in Department 42 of the Superior Court of California, County of Ventura. This case has been ongoing for about 2 1/2 years, and has been hotly contested from the beginning.  Today, we are on a brief respite - our case went four days and we are waiting to be recalled to the court to continue proceedings.

While we have not previously broadcast the fact, our firm has on staff two prayer warriors, one male and one female, whose job is primarily prayer support.  I often refer to them as my "close air support," to coin a term I picked up in my Marine Corps days.  The prayer support provides great assistance and support to our clients who may choose to avail themselves of that - or not.  Our prayer support prays daily through the files - no file, once pulled, is returned to the file cabinets without prayer. Our prayer warriors are also on hand to attend prayer with counsel* over the files, and often go into the courtroom with us.  We wish to be pleasing to God, while being zealous and relentless in our service to and protection of the people He sends us; the presence of our prayer staff helps on both counts. 

The reason I am stating this now, is that on July 7, 2015, opposing counsel filed a Motion in Limine seeking to have prayer banned from Courtroom 42.  I have a copy of the Motion in Limine; if I knew how to upload it, I would do so as I have my client's permission to disseminate this.  Opposing counsel had a well-prepared, emotional, angry argument which he presented to the court.

Opposing counsel also sought to attack the presence of staff present for Pray for The Courts, a nonprofit organization, which currently has one full time employee whose job is to walk this courthouse and pray with and for people as she is led.  He accused me of making money on this and attached the website printout, which does accept donations.  For the record, though I was one of the founders of PFC, I resigned in 2013 from the board and remain attached only in the capacity of a contributor.  As far as I know, the only donations to PFC come from some of my staff and some of my relatives - but I have to say I don't really know.  Please feel free to go to the PFC website:  www.prayforthecourts.com for more information.

I am praising God this day that I didn't need to stand and argue the actual law about these being public courtrooms, and that we have a couple of wonderful freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, protected by our police as well as our military, and ensured by our courts.  The judge in this case ruled simply that the courtrooms are public; and unless the people in prayer are making noise they can be present.  He did state that so long as they were quiet, they could stay - the same rule for anyone else observing courtroom proceedings in California. And yes, I ordered that transcript. 

This particular opposing counsel, while brilliant, is known for his viciousness and personal attacks on both parties and counsel - to the extent that most attorneys in Ventura County will not take cases against him.  We have chosen to stick with this client, despite the unceasing pettiness and unpleasantness.  We pray that God accepts our service to this client as a willing sacrifice to His Name and His calling upon our firm. 

I ask for your prayers.  Give thanks for our judge, an upright man who knows the law and is not intimidated by opposing counsel.  Give thanks for our courts.  Give thanks for the freedoms you enjoy today.  Give thanks for the warriors who defend those freedoms - not just those in the military, but also those serving in our police departments and our legal system.  And, please, give thanks for those willing to take up the burden of prayer in our courts.

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*Counsel do not pray with clients as we believe that would be manipulative.

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Hartley, Maxwell & Castellano - Attorneys at Law
5700 Ralston Street, Suite 210
Ventura, CA 93003

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Hartley, Maxwell, & Castellano Attorneys at Law